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Detroit Premier Educator Recognized as Teacher Hero by LG Electronics

Happiness is priceless and with the growing percentage of young adults that experience anxiety or depression, there is a crucial need for social-emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom.
Meet Anita Rice, kindergarten teacher at Detroit Premier Academy (DPA), who has gone above and beyond to bring happiness into the classroom. ​​​​​​​

 Happiness League logo

Her joyful spirit and focus on mindfulness have not gone unnoticed. Rice has been selected by LG Electronics USA and Inner Explorer through a new nationwide initiative, "The Happiness League", which exists to honor America's teachers for their heroic efforts equipping students with social and emotional wellness skills needed to persevere and succeed in life. This program recognizes teachers for their dedication in bringing happiness to classrooms through the Experience Happiness program and the six sustainable happiness skills, which includes Mindfulness with Inner Explorer. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
“Ms. Rice is committed to supporting the whole child,” said Sheila Williams, kindergarten and first-grade instructional dean at DPA. “In addition to SEL, she has made parent involvement a major focus for improving student outcomes. This has been instrumental in the success of her virtual classroom.”
Rice infuses various methods to bring joy into the classroom. She sings to engage with her virtual students, offers a virtual karate class, and goes out of her way to drop off supplies and treats to her students through home drive-by events.
“In order to teach SEL, we need to be aware of and continue to develop our own social-emotional skills,” said Williams. “Teachers and students need to feel valued and safe.” Williams went on to share that at DPA, SEL skills are embraced to improve academics and classroom behavior for students. These skills are also important for personal and professional success for staff.
“Ms. Rice truly enjoys teaching her students,” said Williams. “The joy and fun that she has with her parents and students allows her to connect, relax, and enjoy her work. This in turn allows students to relax, take risks, and engage in the learning process. She focuses on making personal bonds with students that has led to enhancing the internal motivation of her students to learn and succeed. The combination of joy, mindfulness teaching, and personal connections has made a positive impact on enhancing student self-esteem, self-confidence, and motivation to continue to learn.”
Along with the recognition, Rice is being inducted into The Happiness League with the gift of a superhero cape, LG monitor, and the chance to share their story.   
“Our teachers worked on the front lines and played a crucial role in maintaining consistency, normalcy, and inspiration for America's children,” said Christine Ackerson, head of corporate social responsibility for LG Electronics USA, lead sponsor of the Experience Happiness program. "They are truly superheroes providing our youth with the courage to endure and prosper and deserve special recognition."
Williams is so proud she has been recognized nationally. “We here at DPA know how dedicated she is in advocating for students social and emotional health as well as her commitment to parent involvement.”

About Detroit Premier Academy
Detroit Premier Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Detroit, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit
Visit Detroit Premier Academy's blog to read more stories like this.